To Swatch or Not to Swatch?

I had my first uh-oh moment with fabric this week. I wanted a soft elegant black fabric for the Mathilde and Mimi blouses I’ll be making in the next two weeks. Looking back I should have known. The fabric is a washer linen. I think I got so lost in the pretty description I completely ignored the word linen. Don’t get me wrong, the fabric is great, but not what I wanted for these projects.

So here is my question: do you always buy swatches first or do you just go for it?

I’ve always just gone for it. I’ve never had a mess up until now, but thinking about the cost and how the shirts won’t be what I invisioned makes me rethink purchasing swatches first. Maybe with quickly picked projects I can go to a shop or wing it if I buy online. And then with projects I have planned out, like my projects in the fall, I can buy swatches to be extra careful.

What are your thoughts, do you think swatches are worth it?

5 thoughts on “To Swatch or Not to Swatch?

  1. I have never purchased a swatch but to be fair I’ve also never ordered fabric online. Do you have any local fabric stores where you can purchase fabric. When I lived in Minneapolis I used to frequent SR Harris which is a huge fabric warehouse and it was amazing. Now that I’m in Lexington, KY I’ve had to make peace with Hancock Fabrics and Joann’s cause there’s nothing else. If I were going to purchase fabric online I think I would buy stuff that looked interesting but with no particular project in mind, cause as you found out, what you get might not work for what you had in mind. But, it’s not all a loss. You can save what you have and let it inspire a future project.


    • Unfortunately Birmingham, AL is a lot like Lexington. There’s one local shop I know of but they mainly sell fabrics for children’s clothing. I usually stick with Joann’s when I don’t buy online. I think I enjoy online just because I feel less frazzled looking at a screen instead of searching through aisles. I’ll definitely be more careful and try going to Joann’s a bit more. I also think I’m going to go ahead and use my online fabric for my Mimi blouse and save the rest for later.


  2. I have bought a couple of fabrics online that were not what I expected so I ended up choosing a different fabric to use for those projects. Now, the fabrics are sat in my stash and everytime I see a new pattern I can check if it would work in that fabric so if its a fabric you really like its no great loss if it doesnt work for the project you originally bought it for. You just have to hope that when you find the perfect project for it you have enough length!


    • I thought about returning it, but you’re so right, I might as well keep it for another project! I’ve decided to use some of it anyway on one of my shirts and maybe save the rest for some cute lightweight pants or something.

      Liked by 1 person

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